Todd Carney and Jamie Lyon are set to go head to head in the NRRRL.
Todd Carney and Jamie Lyon are set to go head to head in the NRRRL. Contributed

Former NRL stars set for Ballina clash

TWO former NRL stars are set to showcase their skills in Ballina on Sunday when the Ballina Seagulls take on the Byron Bay Red Devils in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League.

Jamie Lyon will be pulling on the Ballina jersey, having signed earlier in the year as captain/coach, while Todd Carney, will be firing up the Devils - though late last week his position was in doubt with a rib injury.

Lyon said he hoped his and Carney's involvement in the game would get more people through the gates.

"It's good to give bush footy a kick," he said.

Naturally, the footy fans will be keen to see Lyon and Carney in action.

But for Lyon, it's all about the club and the team's performance.

"It's doesn't come down to individuals," he said.

"It's a new role for both of us being captain/coach, and we want to get the teams playing the best they can."

He said his focus was for the Seagulls to improve.

"We're starting slowly and trying to build," Lyon said.

And, having been retired from the NRL for a few years, Lyon said he also was happy testing his fitness and skills with his team-mates.

There is no particular rivalry between Lyon and Carney. Lyon couldn't remember any particular games where Carney had one up on him, or the other way around.

However, there is plenty of rivalry between the two clubs, Ballina and Byron Bay.

And that was strengthened in the off-season when Ballina lost about five players to the northern neighbour when Carney signed with the Devils.

But the points are with Ballina at the moment as the Seagulls currently lead the competition, with Byron Bay in sixth place.

The first-grade game will kick off at Kingsford Smith Park, Bentinck St, after 2.45pm, but the gates to the ground will be open from 10am with the ladies tag game to kick off at 11am.

Entry is $6.

Meanwhile, Lyon said he and his wife and family were enjoying their time in Ballina, where his parents also lived.

"The (Seagulls) club is great," he said.

"They've got really good volunteers who have kept the club in a strong position over a number of years."